A Family Field Trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History

A few weeks ago we were on Spring Break in Florida.  The sun was shining, it was 75, we were wearing shorts... my family visited the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida in Gainesville.  The Museum gives the natural, science history of fossils that have been found in Florida, and it also provides the social history of the Native Americans. We love this museum.  Usually when we are at UF we end up at the museum at least once because of the Butterfly Rainforest.
Have you ever been to a Butterfly Rainforest?  There is one in NY as well at the Strong Museum of Play which is incredible if you have younger children.  My two smart-alecky kids love to go to the UF campus and this museum.  In August when we were there a butterfly went up my daughter's nose!  It would not leave her alone.  The kids named it Kathy.. no idea why. So now, every time we visit, we have to go find Kathy.

This time, the museum has a special exhibit called TitanBoa.  Students from UF and several other universities discovered a fossil of a GINORMOUS.. yes I'm considered that a word now.. Anaconda snake.  They have brought the fossilized remains back to Gainesville, and are in the process of cleaning up and displaying the snake.
This exhibit was really cool.. and the MATH GEEK in me was going crazy!
UF did a really nice job of setting up this display.  In the bottom picture above you can see a large picture of a snake.  My goofy daughter who is 5 foot 5, is laying at the head of the snake.  The entire wall measures the snake's length.  How cool would it be to see how many of your student's would be equal to the snake size!  I'm going to show my smarties my pictures and have them measure the lengths on the sidewalk outside.  I want to see how many of my students will be the length of the snake.  Of course, I'll add a little bit MORE to it.. they are middle schoolers.. I'm going make them figure out what percent of the snake they are.  That will be a good review from our ratios and proportions unit.  They also  showed visitors the diameter of a normal sized Anaconda snake, and then the projected diameter of TITANBOA.
Working with circles isn't part of my curriculum anymore with the Common Core change, but I'm definitely going to incorporate this stat into a lab of some sort.

It was pretty neat to see all of the measurement places and dimensions work throughout this museum.  Once the lightbulb was turned on, I couldn't get over the amount of math and science could be found.  I'm sure the the Museum has created educational consult works for school groups, but there is a lot of neat extra stuff here if you are willing to do a little leg work first.  Of course, I have never taken my middles here, only my family, but it was a great day.. and an educational one on my spring break!

Have you ever been to the Florida Museum of Natural History?  or another museum where a family trip turned into a lightbulb CLASSROOM moment? Leave me a comment and let me know.

<Just for Disclosure purposes:  This post is MY OPINION ONLY and has nothing to do with UF or the Museum>


  1. LOL! I love your post! As a teacher, don't you feel like you have "light bulb" moments all the time? :) Our poor/lucky kids must feel like they are always at school!
    Creating Lifelong Learners

    1. That's what my daughter said about going to this museum!!..Of course.. who is the one laying down on the floor in the exhibit hall? Her! She wanted to see how long she was compared to the snake.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I will make every effort to respond back to you!

Back to Top